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How to Choose the Right School for Children? Parental Guide

What Aspects must be looked into?

Every year the most stressful time for parent community is when the new school sessions are about to start and you struggle to find the right schools for your Pre-schoolers.

Or maybe you have relocated and are trying to select a good school at the new place.

Or maybe you are not happy with the current school of your child and trying to look for some other school at the same place.

Most of you young parents are confused as to how must you select the school? Should you go for a big established school or an upcoming one? What all must you look for in a school? Do the results define a school? Should you go for State Boards, CBSE or ICSE Schools?

Selecting a school implies that you are putting your child on a learning trajectory. Through this article, I am sharing the insights based on observations and experience which will help you to make right choice.

In order to make the right choice, you must make your observations on the following parameters and look deeper in to these aspects.

Competence of the Faculty

Are they well qualified and trained?

What methodology do they follow?

How to check that?

In case you are physically verifying, visiting the school, it is obvious when you talk to them. You can see, feel and get vibes of the same. Experience & expertise speaks for itself.

In case you are looking into the schools through websites, try to find more about them by asking the parents of the children who study there.

You must ensure that the school meets the highest standards of excellence in terms of its teachers, their methodology of teaching learning, academic curriculum and moral standards.

 Ethos of the School

Is it loving & caring?

Does it radiate concern for children?

How to check that?

Choose to visit the school if possible. You can feel positive energy and vibes.

Also take notice as to how are people in general talking to each other, do they talk politely and with courtesy to each other? Are they comfortable with each other?

Most importantly, how do the seniors relate with their subordinates? Is there a feel of fear? There may be a feel of authority but if it is wrapped in love and concern, it is okay. But if it is only authority without humanity, you may have to reconsider.

Class Strength and Teacher Student Ratio

Big Class Strength, Multi-sectional School with Super facilities

Average Class Strength, 2/3 section school with basic facilities in place

How to decide?

In a class with 30-32 students, the teachers will be personally able to attend to every student’s individual learning needs.

In big class sizes and in very big schools, individual attention starts fading out which is so crucial at least up to class 8th.

So, consider this factor based on the need, age and class of your child. How does your child learn; in group settings or individually? How much attention does she need to understand and master any concept?

Usually, in junior classes, the children need more of individual attention and ample practice to master the skills of reading writing and arithmetic. By secondary classes, children are grown up enough and have already mastered the basic skills so class size does not really make up much difference to the learning curve of children until there are real discipline issues at class level.

Teaching – Learning Experience and Overall Focus

Traditional old-fashioned teaching & focus on rote learning (memorization). Only academics are focused on.

Innovative, experiential learning with focus on learning by doing along with promoting multi-dimensional growth of children. Extracurricular activities like sports, music, arts & craft, dance &drama etc. are equally focused on.

How to find out?

Try to talk to the parents of the children or the senior students of the school. Look out for real evidences in and around.

For beginners and students up to class 8th at least, evidences of learning by doing must be a very important factor to make the choice of the school.

You can ask to see the school on some random working day and see it for yourself. Innovative, ever growing organizations have a vibrancy about themselves and opportunities of learning by doing are provided to children to help them explore their talent and skills.

What are the Motives of School?

Pure Education/ Pure Business

 Education with understanding of business/ Business with an understanding of real education

Pure education means the schools totally committed to the cause of education and are actively engaged in the growth and development of children.

Pure business means the schools are concerned more with the business aspects of running a school than the quality of teaching learning and growth & development of children.

But the point is pure educationists won’t ever have so much resources to run the school. So, there is least probability of coming across a school run for pure education. The school committed to the cause of education with understanding of business is the ideal choice. See, in real world any organization has to be economically self-sustaining. Such schools engage in real education with good quality faculty and nurturing ethos. In other words, the real value for the cost offered is delivered honestly.

How to check?

Try to find facts who are the people at the helm of affairs? Are they committed to the cause of education? Ask to see the people at key positions in the school. Talking to them and sharing your aspirations would give you a feel of what do they stand for, what philosophy do they follow. Appearances may be deceptive so talking to the parents of students already studying in the school will give you a fair picture.

Infrastructure & Facilities in the School

Basic Facilities

Five Star Facilities

How to decide?

The schools with basic infrastructure and good standard of cleanliness and greenery around serve the purpose. Neat and clean toilet facility, safe drinking water, a playground, laboratory and library also come under the basic facilities.

Some schools provide awe creating facilities which most of the times become the basis of your choice. You have to think critically as to how do such facilities add to the growth and development of your child. A.C classrooms, Buses, canteen etc. do not engage in real education so their availability and non-availability must not be a factor to select a school. In case you are considering the availability of such facilites as a factor to choose school, try to find out whether these facilities are for showcase or children are actually allowed to use them and develop. Find out whether labs are used or just stacked? A normal lab with ample uses is better than a well stacked big lab but minimal uses.

See during pandemic, we all have witnessed that buildings were at their own places yet the schools with focus on education have been able to provide an admirable teaching learning experience. So rationally you must select a school with all basic facilities in place, properly functional and utilized to the maximum.

Which Board the School is Affiliated to?

State Board/ CBSE/ ICSE

How to decide?

The choice of board will depend on the age & class of your child along with how often do you relocate. As a matter of fact, all schools up-to class 8thare recognized by the State Boards. For the board classes the schools are further affiliated to either the State Boards or CBSE or ICSE.

 Usually, the concepts taught in all schools are same as they are based on NCF (national Curriculum Framework) but pattern of asking questions in Board Classes is different.

So up-to class 8th, your choice must be governed by the other factors discussed (quality faculty, teacher-student ratio, education or business, and nurturing ethos.) and not by the Board.

But in case if you relocate (change place due to any reason) every two years, you may prefer a CBSE school as almost all of them follow the same pattern so your changing school will not impact your child’s studies although other factors would still make a difference.

Also, if you stay permanently at one place and aspire your child to go for state govt. jobs or seek admission into state colleges of higher studies in future, a State Board School with keeping other factors in mind can be a good choice.

Distance of the School from Home

A Big School with all facilities

A small school with normal facilities

How to decide?

Your selection of school in terms of distance from your home must depend on the age of your child. For preschoolers and primary classes, a school near to your home provided it has a caring ethos and focusses on learning by doing can be a good choice as it saves the child from tiring commuting schedule.

For beginners, the aim of starting school is to be able to develop a routine and spend some time away from home independently in the care of school and engage in creative activities.

For middle and Senior classes, you sure must look for lab, library and advance sports facilities. By that time, your child might have grown physical strength to bear the long travel and average time management skills to cope up with the time spent in daily commuting.

So, considering all these factors and mapping them to the age, need and class of your children will help you make a practical selection. Other factors, what do you base your decisions on, hearsay or your own needs and critical thinking, what values to you the most, what kind of environment do you look up for your child also will definitely impact selection of a school for your child. Whatever factors govern your choice, the minimum you must ensure is the real healthy growth and development of your child.

Making an Intelligent Choice is Imperative to Your Child’s Future!

Enjoy Happy Parenting!

Schools Reopening!!! Top 9 Priorities as Schools Reopen!

Schools Reopening!!!

Top 9 Priorities  as Schools Reopen!

The worst nightmare of our lives is slowly and gradually coming towards its end, number of cases coming down every day in India, vaccine launched and people being administered the vaccine shots, general public adapted to overall hygiene protocols, most of the places and services opened up, it is now time for the schools to reopen. A good number of SOPs circulated by the Government, CBSE Board and various other state boards, the schools are once again becoming LIVE – happening places. Though we are all happy about it, I am a little apprehensive of the way we are going to resume our working. Have we set our priorities about ‘What’ and ‘How’? Here are the top nine priorities…

#1. Expect, anticipate and adapt to change

One fact that we all must identify and accept is that post pandemic school culture and teaching – learning experiences are not going to be the same as pre pandemic. And we must never focus to achieve that. Much water has flown under the bridge. New normal and new adaptations will continue to evolve. We as schools must focus on continual adaptations over time rather than struggling to achieve the previous standards. A vision in to the futuristic society and the skills needed then must be the focus in schools of today.

#2. Focus on fostering Social connections and Emotional health of Students

 As schools we must remember that this generation of learners has survived a pandemic and they have come out stronger and resilient than before. In the race to cover and makeup for the lost academics, we must not overlook the success stories. You know, the survey reports world over suggest that 98% of the learners surveyed have missed their teachers and friends more than their academics. So as schools, initial few days we must invest into fostering and nurturing those connections again. Teachers must promote, share and listen to the stories of courage, hardships, pay cuts, work from home tensions, coping up – first hand from their students. They must build on their leanings of pandemic, reinforce them and build on the value of empathy, one of the core life skills to be a better human being.

#3. Establish Routine and Discipline with Patience

 Schools provide a structure and discipline to our children. Staying at home for so long with practically no or little schedule for the day has robbed our children of their habits and attitudes towards work. They may slog and delay work initially. We at schools have to understand the fact that it may take a fortnight or so to revive the right patterns and routines. So, plan to go easy with patience.

#4. Identify the Bigger Role the Schools play

Pandemic has proved that schools play a pivotal role beyond the teaching-learning experiences. They foster human connections and help learners develop social skills. The children have not missed the school buildings; they have missed the human interactions and feeling of belongingness with each other.

Read More…https://growinupwithlife.blogspot.com/2021/02/schools-reopening-top-9-priorities-as.html

 

How to overcome Learning Gaps as the Schools enter into New Session!?

Are Schools taking notice of Learning Gaps?

As the schools are reopening, schedules being restructured and new session supposed to be started from 1st of April as per the MHRD guidelines, we are all happy as teachers and parents to resume normal life and face to face teaching learning.

However, Learning Deficiencies or Learning Gaps as induced by the school closures during the last year are going to be a major issue to start with. A Learning Gap is the difference between what a student has learnt and what she/he was expected to learn during that class or grade. As an educationist, I am skeptical that in the mad rush to cover the syllabus in the new session and to make up for the lost profits whether the schools are going to do justice to the cause of education and to the cause of children in their care in the long run. Reading the survey reports ,  reflecting on the crisis and teaching learning dynamics of the last year, I believe the schools are going to face specific challenges in the following aspects;

Delayed Admissions/Enrolments: A lot of children, about 8% as per survey report DCTVS-4, in the early childhood category could not start the school. Which category must they belong to? Should they be enrolled in the next grades as per their age, following the No Detention Policy or should they be enrolled back in grades and start fresh beginning?

Read morehttps://growinupwithlife.blogspot.com/2021/02/how-to-overcome-learning-gaps-as.html

 

Schools Reopening!!! Top 9 Priorities as Schools Reopen!

The worst nightmare of our lives is slowly and gradually coming towards its end, number of cases coming down every day in India, vaccine launched and people being administered the vaccine shots, general public adapted to overall hygiene protocols, most of the places and services opened up, it is now time for the schools to reopen. A good number of SOPs circulated by the Government, CBSE Board and various other state boards, the schools are once again becoming LIVE – happening places. Though we are all happy about it, I am a little apprehensive of the way we are going to resume our working. Have we set our priorities about ‘What’ and ‘How’? Here are the top nine priorities…

#1. Expect, anticipate and adapt to change

One fact that we all must identify and accept is that post pandemic school culture and teaching – learning experiences are not going to be the same as pre pandemic. And we must never focus to achieve that. Much water has flown under the bridge. New normal and new adaptations will continue to evolve. We as schools must focus on continual adaptations over time rather than struggling to achieve the previous standards. A vision in to the futuristic society and the skills needed then must be the focus in schools of today.

#2. Focus on fostering Social connections and Emotional health of Students

 As schools we must remember that this generation of learners has survived a pandemic and they have come out stronger and resilient than before. In the race to cover and makeup for the lost academics, we must not overlook the success stories.

Read more on the link

Is it Perfect to be Perfect at all times!?

Dear friend

We are all on the journey of life, where every day the sun sets, to rise again, shines with all its might even if there are clouds overshadowing it, to set again yet to rise again. The moon shines at Full to become a No Moon or a No moon gradually becomes a Full Moon again…just in 28 days. Observe a little closely, you would discover many more examples.

What does the mother Nature want us to learn from it? I learn from it that nothing, absolutely nothing lasts in the state of permanence. Whatever goes up must come down and whatever comes down must eventually rise again.

We humans are very much part of this very Nature so how is it possible that we would have all things perfect at all times? By very nature of life, two opposite facets of all aspects of life are at work together in a cyclical way. Either it is raining or not, either it is dark or bright, sunny or cloudy, happy or unhappy, high or low, profit or loss, success or failure. Is it compulsory to pass all the tests that life throws at you? Is it not human to err once in a while? Is it possible to be upbeat at all times? Is it possible to be taking right decision at all times? Is it possible to be making profits at all times in business? Is it possible to hold on to your confidence at all times? Is it possible for the sun to never set or moon to be at Full moon ever?

There are times when things don’t go well and there are times when they are running at their best. The fact that life has to be perfect at all times is the biggest reason of unhappiness. Strong people do break, successful people do fail. They just refuse to give up until they build themselves again. Like sun they do set but to rise again. You are winner as long as you refuse to fail. So my dear friend…rise up, take charge, start all over again, you are already there because you chose to talk, you chose to seek help, you chose to start fresh.

Kudos to you!

P.S.

This letter came out in response to a long conversation with a friend. Life at times throws at us more than we could handle. Just by being ears to the friends and family, a lot gets resolved. Sometimes a little different perspective is all that one needs. And sometimes a volley of questions helps to find one’s own answers. So here is my volley of questions to my friend to discover her own answers!

Are we set to be successful?

Who is a learner and how is a learner different from a student? Why must we aim to be a learner?

In the big scheme of life, a learner is someone who has taken the charge of the self, learning as per the need, context and purpose of one’s life at a given point of time.

A learner is different from a student in many ways.

A learner does not necessarily learn in the confines of a class room and is very often not directed by a teacher while a student necessarily learns inside a class room and is directed by a teacher.

To use an analogy A learner drives the car while a student sits in the backseat of the car being driven by teacher.

What are those essential attributes to make us learners for life and set us for success? The mindset of success rests on the premises of being a learner  as;

  • Learners have a purpose.
  • Learners go well along with people.
  • Learners have courage to ask questions.
  • Learners are quick to adapt through learn, unlearn and relearn.
  • Learners have strong core values.

To set oneself free on the journey of being a learner, one must check for following attributes in the self;

  • Do we ask Questions?

Learners just don’t accept anything and everything that comes their way. They are driven by curiosity, seek genuine answers, and check for authenticity of the facts. They don’t take the explanation that ‘this is how it happens’. They question set norms, beliefs, traditions and practices which no longer serve purposes.

For example learners might ask..

  • Why is it alright to eat non-vegetarian food but it is not alright to eat that on Tuesdays and Thursdays?
  • Why are homosexual couples not allowed the Right to Inherit?
  • Why do we have three different titles to write before a woman’s name, viz Ms, Miss & Mrs and only one for men i.e. Mr.
  • How are we better humans if we consider our religion to be better than others?

Learners seek their own answers and don’t stop until they have a logic that appeals to their mind.

  • Do we have a Purpose?

Everybody in life has a purpose. The thug who is set out to cheat people also has a purpose. But these life learners have a bigger purpose of life. They are driven by a passion to serve, to contribute to the bigger cause. So they are ever ready to know and learn whatever it takes to contribute to their cause.

Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, whom I consider an extraordinary example of a life learner had a purpose, he wanted to contribute to the progress of the country. He continued on his journey from a small town boy, born into a very poor family  to become a scientist and later on as the President of India. Very few of us know that even after retiring from his Presidentship (2007), he was still working on scientific pursuits. He had developed a rugged tablet ( used in health care services) in collaboration with cardiologist Soma Raju, named Kalam Raju tablet n 2017.

These lifelong learners have bigger than life goals. They are passionate beyond common man’s understanding of the word passion.

Mother Teresa is another example. We can look for such learners around us and get inspired.

  • Do we go well along with people ?

Learners often go well along with people. They have high intra personal skills and interpersonal skills. In the pursuit of their passion to serve humanity, mankind, they understand that like minded people are their best assets. They form teams and nurture their team members. They support their team to learn and be at their best because they understand they alone would not be able to serve their purpose. It is the people who work together. They are good at collaborations with people.

  • Are we flexible to adapt without compromising on our Core Values?

These learners have a mindset to learn, unlearn and relearn. They continuously keep learning new skills; innovate on the already existing ways of working to suit the current needs. Overall they are dynamic people, who flow with the tide. They show no resistance to change, rather take the lead to initiate or accept it. They keep rediscovering and reinventing themselves, check their own belief systems for authenticity and come up with new avatars of themselves. Though flexible, to adapt, to learn new skills and new ways of working, they have strong core values; like integrity, authenticity and  humanity. They change and adapt only to be able to serve their purpose. For example leveraging technology in their favor sincerely is an attempt by them to be serving mankind better in any chosen field.

So let us all shake ourselves and check do we have any or all of these attributes? Can we consciously inculcate the ones that we don’t have?

Let us begin with questioning ourselves, as to why do I do what I do? Do I serve some purpose? Does it serve some bigger purpose? Am I ready to unlearn ( all my non working belief systems) and learn fresh to start on a new journey.

Remember; those who have some ‘WHY’ will always find ‘HOW’ to it.

Set yourself to be a LEARNER and be SUCCESSFUL in the journey of life!!!

carving A Learner Out of A Student!

School/Education systems today do not prepare our children for a world where they have to learn, unlearn and relearn! In a fast changing world if our children just remain students and are not prepared to be learners, something for sure is missing.

Let us try to answer all these questions.

  • What went wrong?
  • Who is a student?
  • Who is a learner?
  • What is the basic difference between the two?
  • Should we aim to have students or to prepare learners?
  • What can we do to carve learners out of students?

The modern education system does not arouse curiosity rather it promotes rote learning. The children are provided the bookish knowledge which has little relevance in their day to day life. What they read from the books and write in exams to pass a class usually is not applicable to solve their everyday challenges as to how to go well with people, how to accept different viewpoints or to check the authenticity of any issue.

As per Wikipedia, “A student is primarily a person enrolled in a school or other educational institution who attends classes in a course to attain the appropriate level of mastery of a subject under the guidance of an instructor and who devotes time outside class to do whatever activities the instructor assigns that are necessary either for class preparation or to submit evidence of progress towards that mastery.”

As per Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries, “A learner is a person who is finding out about a subject or how to do something.”

From The Glossary of Education Reform, when comparing learner and student, they point out that “While this preference may seem arbitrary on the surface, it does appear to serve a semantic purpose: learning can occur in the absence of teaching, but teaching doesn’t occur without some form of learning taking place.”

A Student A Learner
·       Learns in a class room in a specific time ·       Learns anywhere, anytime
·       Is directed by teacher ·       Directs and supports their own learning
·       Works within a defined time ·       Works at their own pace
·       Is motivated by grades ·       Is motivated by learning
·       Follows goals that are set and monitored by teachers ·       Develops self learning goals and monitors self progress
·       Achieves goals set by teacher through listening and following instructions

(Passive learning)

·       Achieves goals by active collaboration and feed back with others

(Active learning)

·       Seeks knowledge, degree, qualification ·       Seeks success
·       Students are students only when they have teachers ·       Learners can learn without teachers

 

Going by the difference between a student and a learner, I believe, we as teachers and parents would love our children to be learners and not merely students as learners are set for success in the long run.

Regarding the important question, how can we carve learners out of students, we can promote following, starting from homes and classrooms ;

  • Let them ask questions.

Promote inquiry, feed curiosity. Early in the life when children are young and start learning in the form of formal students, any question they ask is valid. They must be allowed to ask without fear of being snubbed, or being told, “this happens this way only.’ Answer their ‘WHYs’. And most importantly if they themselves are not seeking ‘WHY’, it is teachers’ and parents’ role to ignite their minds to ask ‘WHYs’ and ‘HOWs’. Simply cramming all the information available out does not let them grow in to learners.

Help Them Set a Goal 

As they grow, the teachers and parents must guide and support children to set goals for their own learning. Let them decide how much of what will they cover by what time and how. For bigger life, it is finding the purpose for which children have to direct acquiring knowledge and studies.

  • Let Them Collaborate

In class room scenario, we must develop the culture of interaction through ABL(Activity Based Learning). It must not be the teacher alone who does all the speaking or talking. The students must be allowed and promoted to ask questions. Asking questions leads to active participation. With teacher only speaking, it is passive learning. Promote small groups learning where in few students are together working to seek answers to some questions. This also helps them learn the team skill and to accept various viewpoints.

These simple changes made in our pedagogy nurture young minds and nourish them through support to seek their own answers. Seeking one’s own answer is the beginning of carving a learner out of a student.

It is our duty as educators to ignite that spark, which makes a student curious beyond class rooms. A learner is set on the journey of life with a mind set to contribute to the bigger whole and to be successful.

Let us all remember, a learner is essentially a student but all students are not learners.  Research has evidence that in the big scheme of life, learners are happy and successful because they keep learning for the BIG PURPOSE of life.

Over to teachers and parents to play their part well to carve learners out of students!

P.S. The next blog in the series explores whether we parents and teachers have the mindset to be learners. We can help our children be learners only if we are learners first.

We sure wish to have obedient children!?

Do you wish your children to be obedient?

Yes, of course, all of us as parents do wish our children to be obedient.

Well, let us explore this concept of obedience a little deeper to understand fully and decide whether we really wish our children to be that or not!

Obedience to put it simply is to do or follow what you are told. On a more subtle level, it is to believe what everyone else believes.

When I believe what everyone else believes, where is the scope left to check the facts before I believe. And when I don’t do the facts checking for the self, have I used my mental faculty, my thinking abilities?

See, you can counter me ..means now we must go and experiment in the space to believe that the earth is round? No, I don’t mean that. I just mean that when we label growing children as disobedient, when they are just trying to look at the same thing from another perspective or they are trying to do something with their own unique approach, we as parents must know that they are not being disobedient, they are just being innovative and trying to identify themselves.

Imagine, you wanted your child to bake a cake the way you had been baking all along, but your son tries something new, and the cake he baked is differently delicious. It is not the same as yours. Your son decided not to obey you and came out with something totally new. This is being innovative, this is being intelligent. Your son trusted his instincts and developed confidence also. Suppose the cake would not have turned out totally edible. So what? He would have learnt the lesson as to what not to do the next time so that the cake turns out to be edible and that lesson would be permanent in his memory because it has come out of experience.

The problem with obedience (Absolute Obedience) is that it robs children of important experiences. Experiences of life are processed in the brain and are stored as intelligence to be used further.

Obedience needs no intelligence. Any idiot or fool can be obedient.

It needs guts and courage to be disobedient at times. (I am not saying the disobedience is to be promoted just for the sake of being disobedient). You see, when you are being obedient, you don’t own any responsibility, you don’t owe any explanation. But when you choose to be disobedient, you owe explanation. Since you owe explanation, you automatically own responsibility because usually nobody loves to explain.

While dealing with children, we must remember that it is not about our children only. Any intelligent person will ask; why? Why am I supposed to do this? What are the reasons you wish me to do it a particular way and what will be the consequencesAt times the acts of disobedience by our children are a way of great intelligence.

As I said earlier, the more subtle form of disobedience is to believe in the belief commonly accepted. The most commonly accepted belief that we must not question our seniors/bosses/parents  is the root cause of social evils to go on & on. (Only in army, it is acceptable to not question your seniors or bosses because the decisions that are to be taken in the middle of a battle field do not provide the opportunity to question and reason so a senior has to be absolutely obeyed).

Many of you readers reading this blog must be aware of Nazi Concentration Camps during World War II. The Heads of the Concentration Camps were all educated officers, they were professionals like engineers and doctors. What did they do? They committed the most ghastly crimes. The torture and inhumanity, these officers inflicted upon the prisoners were unparalleled. BUT  they owed no explanation, because they had obeyed the orders of their Commander.See, when this mindset of obedience settles in, the Authoritarianism flourishes; at homes, in organizations, in societies and in States.

The belief that we must not ask questions because everybody else does not ask is the gross form of obedience. Where does it start? It starts at home, at school, where children are supposed to follow and do everything they are told. The schools were supposed to nurture the intelligence but instead nipped it in the bud. Any child who asks intelligent questions (at times uncomfortable too, because they shake a teacher’s core belief system also) is labeled disobedient. Obedience converts you into robots and it is easy to manage and handle the class. Imagine the class where a teacher has to answer 25 possible intelligent questions for which he/she is not prepared. Either make extra efforts to think from that perspective or snub the enquiries in the name of disobedience. Similarly at home, it is easier and comfortable for parents to push obedience rather than involve children in intelligent discussions.

Looking at obedience from this perspective is a real problem. On the contrary, disobedience is the assertion of your intelligence, of the mindset that I own responsibility and owe explanation.

Since, everybody has been doing, so I’ll also do the same way and my children must do the same. Take a deep breath dear readers, all progress of the mankind has its root in disobedience. (Disobedience to me is  questioning the norms, their efficacy, their purpose. If they no longer serve the purpose, they must be redesigned.)

I believe  we all wish to nurture Intelligently Disobedient children.

Right ???

Would sure love to know your perspective. Share your take through comments.

Reference:-

  1. McLeod, S. A. (2017, Febuary 05). The milgram shock experiment. Simply Psychology.https://www.simplypsychology.org/milgram.html

Building Emotional Intelligence!

Continued from..the previous blog.

The Essential Component of Success!

Emotional Intelligence like any other skill can be built up with conscious and regular practice.

Self Reflect to Build Self Awareness:

The ability to observe oneself and reflect helps one make  conscious choices. The more you acknowledge and name your feelings, better aware you become at knowing your own emotions, what triggers them, how do you feel at that time and how do you behave or act. Deliberate reflections on your own actions, helps you realize you have choices in your actions.

For Self Reflection to be a part, you can practice following-

  • Practice being in present.
  •  Deliberately stop over the day many times to check your mental state at a given point of time.
  • Acknowledge your feelings and name it.
  • Practice observing others and their feelings.
  • Notice your judgments for the self as well as about others. Doing this helps you realize that people are different.
  •  Practice sharing your feelings through speaking. This helps you pay attention to why of the feelings around.
  • Notice the intensity of your positive and negative emotions, thoughts or feelings.

Self Soothe to Build Self Regulation:

Self soothing is like positive re-affirmations to the self. It helps us to manage ourselves when somebody is attacking or blaming us. Self soothing helps us to remain objective and take the feedback positively.

Practice self soothing by-

  • Have faith in yourself and your capabilities. To have faith in your capacities, regularly ask feedback from others.
  • Be objective and look at the situation without adding emotions to it.
  • Look for what is right and not who is right.
  • Act as if you really count. This helps you to overcome your fear and empowers you to listen to yourself.

Practice Empathy to Build Empathy:

Empathy is the ability to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and see where is it pinching. Being high on empathy makes us able to understand others, their viewpoints, helps us to listen more and we become able to appreciate differences.

To build up empathy, we can practice;

  • Acknowledging self and self feelings.
  • Acknowledging others and their feelings.
  • Trying knowing others; your friends, colleagues, team members.
  • Try listening without interrupting.
  • Try initiating conversation during stress.
  • Practice keeping yourself at other person’s place. Consequently we get more control on our actions and behaviors.

I believe, being high on Emotional Intelligence is the new mantra of success because in real life it is all about our abilities to understand self and others, their feelings, emotions and intentions. Once we can see through that, we can enhance the outcomes of our interactions. We can see what drives us and at the same time what drives others. Together as a team, we can be more productive, at home we can be more accepting of others, at work place we may learn to go well with others. We can choose to be not in agreement at all times but our manners of disagreement can be more agreeable. We can choose to be more happy, peaceful and successful just by building on our emotional intelligence.

Happy Emotional Intelligence Building!

The Essential component of Success!!

Emotional Intelligence!!

Ever wondered what makes some people ever happy? How do some people go mostly well along with everyone, practically everyone? How come some leaders are able to inspire their team and get the best out of them? How come some teachers are listened to by the students or how come some of our uncles or aunts or cousins are always able to get done what they wish to?

There is only one answer to all your wonderments, and that is all these people are Emotionally Intelligent. The findings of various researches in the field of Emotional Intelligence tell us that People with High Emotional Intelligence are likely-

  • To be very happy, ever vibrant and going well along with others.
  • To have more fulfilling and satisfying relationships.
  • To be more productive and successful at work.
  • To have solution seeking mindset in case of any problem.
  • To overcome challenges, upsets, heartbreaks, business failure, job loss etc. with vigor.

On the other hand People with Low Emotional Intelligence are likely-

  • To havefrequent emotional outbursts, typically out of proportion to the problem at hand, and are demanding and boring.
  • To be impulsive and argumentative most of the times.
  • To have difficulty in listening to others and understanding them.
  • To blame others for all their mistakes.
  • To be excessively critical, picky and fussy in any relationship.
  • Toshow resistance to change, and not take any initiative to overcome the challenges of life.

What exactly is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to regulate and monitor one’s own self and as well as other’s emotions, and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions.

To quote from Daniel Goleman’s (a psychologist) on Emotional Intelligence, it comprises of following elements;

Self Awareness: Knowing one’s emotions or the ability to recognize a feeling as it happens. Being aware of our own feelings, emotions, thoughts and moods is necessary to manage emotions.

Self Regulation: Managing emotions, the ability to behave and act appropriately in a given challenging situation. Self regulation is possible only when we are self aware.

Empathy: Recognizing feelings in others, being able to put the self in other’s place and able to see how it feels. Empathy also builds on self awareness. If one doesn’t know and understand one’s feelings and emotions, one won’t ever be able to understand those of others.

With so much on hand, do you not think that someone high on Emotional Intelligence would be successful?

Along with visible examples around us, research also presents ample evidences to claim that truly successful people actually have high EQ( Emotional Quotient) to complement  their qualifications, competencies, skills and IQ(Intelligence Quotient). So the next logical question in your mind must be  how can we build on our emotional intelligence?

How Can We Build Emotional Intelligence?

To be continued..through the next blog.

A Reach Out Call to My Teacher- Nasreen Bahen ji

https://growinupwithlife.blogspot.com/2020/09/a-reach-out-call-to-my-teachernasreen.html

HAPPY TEACHERS’ DAY !!

Happy Teacher’s Day to a teacher, who shaped me, not only through her teaching, more than that through her passion and dedication to teach what she was best at , English as a language. Yes, she was Nasreen Bahenji (way back in eighties in Govt. Schools of UP, we used to address our female teachers as Bahenji and male teachers were addressed as Master ji or Guru ji).

She taught us English from class 9th to 12th. I studied in Govt. Girls Inter College Basti, U.P. It was a Hindi medium school. Being good at my studies and enjoying learning new things, I somehow  was attracted towards language English. Of all other reasons, one reason most probably was influence of Nasreen Bahenji’s fluent and impeccable English coupled with her refined manners and sweet voice. Voice so sweet yet so low that if you wished to learn from her, you had to pay absolute attention to her. You could not avoid listening to her lest you may fail in English which was the norm more than the deviation during those days.

In the beginning of class 10th, I told Nasreen Bahenji, during one of our Slogan Writing sessions with her that I wish to learn English like her and she answered with a question, “What stops you ?” I also answered back with a question as to who would teach me. ( back then there was neither the trend nor much resources to afford a private class). She very gently answered again, “I will teach you.”And YES, she taught me. For the next may be four- five months, this is how our class went by-

The first day she gave me a book of English Grammar and opening the section Tenses, introduced me as to how to proceed from Simple to Complex exercises. She told me to read the rules and try translating the sentences given in Hindi to English. For Vocabulary, she told me just to use a dictionary from Hindi to English.

I was told to translate as many sentences, complete as many exercises as I could and deposit the note book with her in the morning during assembly and to collect it back during lunch.

Next day I deposited my copy practicing Simple Present Tense where in I had filled in perhaps 20-25 pages. During lunch she handed me my note book back, full of corrections and a caution. The caution was, “Before you take on exercises, you must get few sample sentences checked by me.”

So for the next classes, I would deposit the note book full of exercises, covering the tense which was sample tested, and a few samples of the next tense to be learnt. We met every day during lunch for almost ten minutes when she would explain the corrections done by her. Every small WHAT was looked into and every small WHY of it was thoroughly described at my level of understanding.

And this was repeated every single day of school working. On non working days  of school, I kept on doing my work, her correction work doubled or at times tripled  but Nasreen Bahenji, not even once got irritated.

As soon as I mastered basics, she would add some advance concept or finer nuances to my work, explain it a little and assign the work.Somewhere 2-3 months into Learning English Project, she made it mandatory for me to speak in English with her during our 10 minutes Lunch Session.

One fine morning, she told me not to come every day to her but two times a week would be sufficient provided I kept doing my work every day. Then she brought it down to once a week and then to once a fortnight. Finally one day she asked me, “Why do you keep coming to me?” I replied, “To learn English”. She exclaimed, “But you know it already!” We both looked into each other’s eyes, her full of encouraging praise and mine full of gratitude, we both laughed out loudly.

From that day, daily visits stopped but she was still my mentor for any issue, be it English or life. I had become proficient at English. During one discussion with me, she encouraged me to opt English as a medium of instruction for classes 11th and 12th. To my query that there was no English medium school in our town asmm it was a backward area, looking questioningly into my eyes she stated, “You just have to opt for medium English to write your exams and rest goes on like as usual. Study in a Hindi medium school, have your books of all subjects in English and keep doing your work.” This was workable. And yes I was the only girl to write my paper of class 12th in English from a Hindi medium school way back in 1984. After that I have pursued all my education in language English only.

It must not be a story of courage and passion for many today as studying in English medium is the trend. But putting in context, it sure is the story of faith, courage and passionNasreen Bahenji’s faith in the capacity of a student, her courage to dismiss other teachers’ demotivating remarks at times and her passion for teaching, passion to go beyond the call of duty to do what she loved doing. Teaching to someone who is willing to learn is a double joy for a teacher.

I owe my proficiency in English to my teacher’s extra ordinary efforts with me.

This teachers’ day, this story sharing is a tribute to my teacher Nasreen Bahenji in public though I have been sharing this story very often with my teachers and students over time.

I don’t know where my teacher is. I tried locating her through a letter to school some 7-8 years back, tried looking for her on Social Media but till date have not been able to make any contact with her. Through this tribute I wish to reach out to my teacher. Any of you who is reading this blog, if you have some clue of her whereabouts, please share with me. All I know of her is that she was Nasreen Bahenji teaching English in G.G.I.C. Basti, U.P. during the years 1982-84.

P.S.

By the time I grew up, and became a teacher, private English medium schools were gaining popularity over govt. schools. This is where my hold on the language has always assisted me to do justice to my job. As an educator I believe, the language of learning should be mother tongue. One must learn any foreign language but learning in the name of language barrier must never stop.

I am proud of my mother tongue Hindi which I am equally proficient at. Hindi is not only my mother tongue, it is my day to day language, yet I have always experienced that being proficient in English has always benefitted me in my career progression. I have been into main stream teaching as an educator for 24 years and led the field from the front as Founder Principal of a CBSE school for 16 years.

 

An Open Letter to Schools

Dear Schools

In Education Sector, the only people, organizations or businesses to survive will be those who embrace the technology, learn and transform themselves. New Normal is being created very much in front of our own eyes..Digital/Online Teaching is replacing the Conventional Teaching. Those who match the speed of change will emerge successful.

Pandemic 2020 has reaffirmed the universal fact that it is the survival of the fittest but this time not in terms of physical strength, resources or connections. It is survival of the fittest..in terms of digital adaptability and resilience.

Ever wondered what are those attributes that reveal that somebody possesses that Attitude to Survive or not?

A Reality Check can be taken on the following parameters:
  • Am I capable to identify that change at the right time?
  • Am I ready to equip myself with the knowledge to take the change in stride?

Or

Am I still in denial mode and resisting the change?
  • Am I ready to invest time in myself to learn that knowledge?
  • Do I have the perseverance enough to continue if I have started to learn?
  • Am I ready to come out of my comfort zone and reinvent myself?
  • Am I ready to learn and fail rather than fail to learn?
  • Do I understand how to financially invest in learning to get the highest return?
  • Do I have the capability to convert knowledge into money and results?
  • Do I have the attitude to ‘just do it’?
  • Now let us do the Reality Check, this time..  ‘As a School’;
  •  Had I been quick enough to identify that right now digital/online teaching learning is replacing the traditional class rooms teaching learning?
  • Have I shown the willingness to take my entire team of educators on board and ready to learn the nitty gritty of on-line education in a systematic manner? (Please note that teachers learning on their own without any institutional support is not akin to systematic manner.)

Or

Do I believe that once the pandemic is over the teaching learning will come back to the traditional class room model?

  •  Have I made some structured schedule to spend time everyday to learn technology and upgrade myself? Have I done something to keep the morale of my team up?
  •  Have I made some practical plans to continue with my learning or it was just a knee jerk reaction and just organized a few training sessions and have nothing planned in a continuous manner?
  • Have I done something to keep the morale of my teachers up and motivated them enough to take a leap towards digital transformation? Have I been able to show them the vision? (Vision is something to be happening in the future but we are able to see it today?)
  •  Do I have guts and courage to learn and master one digital tool, another and then other till I find/ get customized one as per my needs? Am I ready to fail also while learning on the go?
  •  Have I been able to realize that I have to plan to invest financially also into the digital transformation trainings of my teachers? While right now it might seem as an expenditure but the business acumen in me tells me that it is actually an investment in future.
  • Am I capable enough to convert all this knowledge of digital transformation into real time profits and achievements? Do I understand that money invested today in my teachers’ training and establishing digital infrastructure at school is actually going to reflect in terms of my Students’ academic achievements and in turn helping me to sustain my business over time?
  • Have I taken the plunge in to digital learning, training and establishing digital interface or am I still brooding over fees and salary? Have I realized the things which can’t be controlled must not be tried to be controlled? Rather what can be done from my side, am I doing just that?

How right was Alvin Toffen when he said, “The illiterates of 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”?

This is applicable to individuals, organizations and businesses in equal measure. This is THE TIME for schools to learn, unlearn and relearn to be able to survive in future.

All the very best to all of you for the future ahead!

P.S.

These are of course difficult questions to ask and answer. Yet the difficult questions, when addressed to with utmost sincerity, very often open the doors to emerging possibilities.

I understand that the money is short in supply. Yet I know this also that we get funded when our plans are viable. Investment in digital transformation is very much a viable project.

Reading and listening to woes of private schools, teachers, parents and students on various platforms was somehow forcing me to think of a very practical bailout from the situation. This sure will help schools to emerge as schools of future. At such times of crisis the time at which decision is taken, makes a lot of difference to the survival trajectory.I believe many schools with futuristic visions have already taken the plunge at the RIGHT TIME and will survive the pandemic in the sense that the business and education both will be taken care of.